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The Covid-19 virus has affected supply chains and operations, globally disrupting key sectors such as healthcare, education, oil and gas, travel, tourism & hospitality, and financial services. The multitude of changes stemming from the ongoing pandemic include fast-tracked digitalization, a shift toward low-contact/no-contact systems and an increased focus on environmental, sustainability and governance issues.

While governments and organizations have been swift in adopting measures to cope with the macroeconomic implications of the disease, the pandemic has brought about profound changes in the professional and personal spheres, often disproportionately affecting women. For example, school and nursery closures have increased pressure on caregivers—typically female family members. Women also often bear the burden of caring for their household and educating children, leading some to refer to the current scenario as a “crisis of women” or a “Shecession”.1

Contrary to the opinion of many analysts, this year’s survey has found female leaders are less pessimistic about Covid19’s impact on business and women. In fact, some female leaders around the globe believe the crisis may create new opportunities as a result of improved digital communication, other advances in technology and changes in stakeholder expectations.

This is the third edition of the UAE Female Leaders Outlook. Within these pages, we examine economic and business outlooks, risks and opportunities, as well as career and gender diversity factors. We note differences with global findings and compare results from last year’s edition of our UAE report.

Our goal is to provide a better understanding of female leaders, their mid-term outlook, views on technology and innovation and what it means to be a woman in the workplace.